Category Archives: the craft of writing

Professional Manuscript Critiques

Edit: If you’re still hoping to get a manuscript critique, there’s a WriMos for Worldbuilders page with some available in a special lottery this year that you should really check out…

As I write this, Worldbuilders has raised more than $92,000 for Heifer International.

So here’s a video. I could claim I’m posting it because it explains what we’re doing here at Worldbuilders, but that would be a lie. I’m posting it because my kids are in it, and my kids are seriously adorable.

So there you go. That’s what we’re doing. You can donate directly to Heifer International on the Worldbuilders team page, making the world a better place while (hopefully) winning fabulous prizes.

Or you can check out the Read-And-Critique auctions below….

*     *     *

Today we’re auctioning off professional manuscript critiques from authors, editors, and agents.

This is an exceptionally rare opportunity. Authors occasionally read a manuscript for a friend, or do a quick critique at a convention. But if you want this sort of professional attention you usually have to attend a pretty serious workshop, like Clarion. Or you have to be a student at one of the rare universities that takes sci-fi and fantasy seriously enough to bring in a professional to teach a class.

You’ll notice that I personally don’t have a critique in today’s blog. That’s because if you win the favor auction I’m running, you can cash in that favor for a read-and-critique. Any manuscript. Any size. I’ll read the whole thing, mark it up, then call you on the phone and talk about it with you.

Now, before I list all the read-and-critique auctions, I’m going to have to put on my Dad Voice: a voice which contains all the baritone authority of my teacher voice, with an added subharmonic that implies if you screw this up, I’m going to be *really* disappointed in you.

“Please read the auction descriptions carefully.”

Each author, editor, or agent is handling their auction in their own way…

  • Everyone has different skill sets, and they’re each offering something slightly different.
  • Some critiques are for 15,000 words of a manuscript, others are for 150,000 words.
  • The professionals below are busy people. Critiques will have to fit in their schedules.
  • When auctions mention “X pages” of a manuscript, that’s standard manuscript format.
  • Most importantly, you’re not buying an introduction to someone’s agent or editor here. You’re not winning representation with an agent. Or a foot in the door with an editor. That’s not what’s on the block. You’re getting writing advice from a professional.

Okay. Enough preamble. Let’s move on to the awesome….

jaimeLeeMoyer_logoFinalJaime Lee Moyer is a speculative fiction writer, poet, and editor. She’s been offering up a read-and-critique with us for years, and we’re thrilled to have her back. She’s willing to comment on plot, pacing, character arc, voice, how well the “hook” or opening works, how well the story sustains her interest, and give overall, general impressions of the story. This will seriously help your story.

If you want to bid on this, head over here.

CassieAlexander

We’re always really grateful when people offer critiques that include feedback of the query letter and synopsis too. Because honestly, my lack of ability to write a decent query letter probably slowed down publication of The Name of the Wind by two years.

That’s what Cassie is offering here: a full critique includes your query letter, synopsis, and the first 15,000 words of your manuscript.

Here’s what a previous auction winner said of her critique:

“It was definitely worth it, and was probably the thing that’s helped with my writing the most. You were hard hitting on points that needed to be said, but still really supportive and complimented the things I did right. People couldn’t ask for a better person to critique their work.”

If you want to get your work critiqued by Cassie, bid over here.

Jen

Jennifer has been a literary agent since 2011, and is offering up a critique of your query letter, synopsis, and the first 15,000 words of your manuscript. She’s helped us out a in the past, and as an agent, she’s seen a *lot* of these, and has some valuable experience to share.

Bid on it over here.

  • David Pomerico will give a critique and commentary of the first 50 pages of your manuscript.

David Pomerico

David has been throwing his hat into the ring for these auctions for years, and is now the Executive Editor at Harper Voyager. He’s worked with some big names, including some New York Times bestsellers. (If you want more details, check out his auction listing).

He’s willing to read and give a detailed critique of the first 50 pages of your manuscript. You can head over here and bid.

josh

Josh is a fellow DAW author, and he’s kicked in critiques in the past. This year, he’s willing to read the first 100 pages of your novel and give you detailed notes and a general evaluation of the opening as well.

If you want this critique, there are more details over here.

josh

Not everybody writes novels. So Josh is offering up a read-and-critique of your short story. It will including a general evaluation of the story as well as some detailed notes and comments.

If you’ve got a short story, this is the guy for you. Bid on this critique over here.

  • Michael Braff will read and critique the first 50 pages of your manuscript.

Mike Braff

Michael is an editor at Del Rey, and has been for six years. He’s thrown in his critiques more than once in the past, and we’re happy to have him on board again. He’s willing to give a detailed critique and commentary of the first 50 pages of your manuscript, rounded up to the nearest chapter, which is generous.

If you want this one, bid here.

  • Michael Martinez will critique up to 25,000 words of your SF/F novel or shorter work.

Mike Martinez

Michael Martinez is an author, and is willing to read up to 25,000 words of any sci-fi or fantasy work you bring to him. He’ll give you an overall opinion, his thoughts on individual sections, and ideas on direction and ways to improve. He’s said that he’s happy to engage in a dialogue with you, which is definitely worth something.

Bid on this one over here.

  • David B. Coe will critique up to 15,000 words of your manuscript.

DavidBCoe

David B. Coe (also known as D.B. Jackson) is willing to critique some short fiction or the early chapters of your novel. He’s a prolific writer (he has 3 books coming out in 2015 alone), and he’s supported Worldbuilders for a good long time, so we really like him.

If you want a novel or short story critique, head over here and bid.

Bradley P. Beaulieu

Bradley P. Beaulieu graciously offered one story or chapter critique of up to 10,000 words. Brad’s offered critiques in the past, and everyone at Worldbuilders was glad to see him back again for more. Apart from writing a ridiculous amount of epic fantasy, Brad also kicked in a stretch goal last year, because he’s cool like that.

If you would like to bask in the coolness, by all means bid over here.

  • Michael R. Underwood will critique your submission packet AND have a Skype consultation on the feedback.

Michael R. Underwood

Mike writes a lot about geekiness, which is always a bonus in our book. This year, he’s willing to critique your query letter, synopsis, and the first 10,000 words of your manuscript. He will then have a Skype conversation with you to discuss the feedback, which we think is extra cool.

If you want your entire packet critiqued, head over here and bid.

  • Matt Bialer, my agent, will read up to 20,000 words of your manuscript.

Matt Bialer

Matt kicks in this critique every year. And my book would not be as good as it is today without him and his help.

He’s offering up a general evaluation of the book, with the perspective of the issues that could be raised by editors at publishing houses. It’s a really great perspective to have.

Matt also managed to jump in with us this morning, so his auction will be live later tonight. You’ll be able to bid on this one over here as soon as it’s live.

  • Worldbuilders Monkey Brett will read and critique your manuscript.

Brett Monkey

Brett has been one of my longest standing friends and readers. He’s given me invaluable feedback on all my books, Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear, and The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

What’s more, he’s a great writer in his own right. Not only is he currently the voice behind a lot of the Worldbuilders website content and auction descriptions, he’s done webcomic work, amusing movie reviews, and plenty of longer-form horror fiction. He also has a brilliant novel waiting in the wings that I keep pestering him to publish, too….

Suffice to say, he does great critique. If you want to get his advice on your work, bid here.

* * *

Lastly, a success story.

Back in 2010, Gabriel Squailia won a read and critique in a Worldbuilders auction. He got it from my agent, Matt Bialer, and Matt was impressed enough to offer to represent Gabriel.

In spring of 2015, Gabriel’s first book is going to be published.

DeadBoysCover

We here at Worldbuilders think this is pretty awesome.

Now let me say it again. We’re not in any way claiming that this sort of thing will happen if you win one of the auctions. You’re buying a critique, and that’s it. Even so, this is proof that these critiques can lead to good things. It could happen. It has happened.

So there you go. Here’s a link to all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running. Keep in mind that there’s enough of them that they spill onto a second page.

Keep being awesome people.

pat

Also posted in Cutie Snoo, Oot, the business of writing, videos, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat16 Responses

Interview: Triangulation

I did an interview about a week ago over on Triangulation.

A good time was had by all. You can watch it over here if you like.

pat

P.S. I think this might be my shortest blog ever….

Also posted in Interviews, videos | By Pat29 Responses

Punctuation

So earlier today I took a break from catching up on my e-mail. There were sounds of intense tickling happening in Sarah’s bedroom, and Oot was doing one of his best laughs: sort of this helpless throaty chortle that means you’ve *really* got him going.

I don’t know if Sarah realizes, but he gets that laugh from her. When something happens that strikes Sarah as really funny, she does this deep, throaty laugh. It’s like the sound a donkey would make if it was suddenly turned into an cartoon stereotype of an overweight geek. It goes heah heah heah.

It is in no way a dignified sound. But it is my favorite laugh ever. It’s full of genuine amusement. And whatever it lacks in dignity it makes up in honesty. True laughter is rarely dignified.

Anyway, Oot is doing his version of this laugh, which means she’s probably managed to get his ribs. She’s good at the ribs, I’m a leg man myself.

Best tickle

(Dramatic Recreation)

I would like to digress slightly to say that I’m a master-class fucking tickler. Seriously. I’m amazing. I could teach a class on tickling. I could do a TED talk.

Anyway, I come in to Sarah’s bedroom and lay down on the bed all casual-like, ready to produce some bespoke tickling.

Then Sarah looks at me with lust in her eyes and says, “You smell so good. It’s making me stupid.

To understand her statement, you have to realize that I am the next stage in human evolution. My pheromonic musk is developed to the point where it’s practically a weapon. In the best of circumstances, I smell masculine. And on a day when I’m staying home and have skipped my morning shower…

Well…. suffice to say that you know there’s a man in the house, even if you can’t see me.

On top of that, I’d been writing. I don’t know why, but when I’m writing, my man-smell gets particularly strong. It’s like my body is trying to establish its dominance over reality itself.

The effects of this pheromonal cocktail vary, but with a select section of the female populous it has two profound, complimentary effects.

1. It delivers a message directly to the woman’s hindbrain, saying: THERE IS A MAN NEARBY, AND YOU MUST MATE WITH HIM.

2. It immediately drops the woman’s intelligence anywhere from 10-50 IQ points, which makes it hard for them to realize that mating with me is *obviously* a bad idea, while at the same time rendering them more vulnerable to my not inconsiderable charm.

You have to admit that evolutionarily speaking, this is a winning combo.

Anyway, Sarah says that, and we laugh. Then, after giving Oot a good tickling, I ask her if I can post her comment up on facebook.

She agrees, and I go to amuse the internets.

But here’s the problem. I can’t find a way to accurately portray what she said.

It should be easy. I know exactly *what* she said. Eight words. Two independent clauses.

But it’s not easy. The trouble lies in the punctuation.

Let’s start with the most generic way of doing this.

  • “You smell so good. It’s making me stupid.”

Punctuated like this, her statement feels choppy and wooden. More importantly, the statement feels matter-of-fact and emotionless.

But if you try to spice it up with an exclamation mark….

  • “You smell so good! It’s making me stupid.”

There’s a reason exclamation abuse is a crime. Punctuated this way, Sarah seems hopelessly manic. Like she was hopping up and down, excited. That’s not right at all.

You can’t do it the other way, either….

  • “You smell so good. It’s making me stupid!”

Then it seems like she’s excited that she’s stupid, which gives the wrong impression on every conceivable level.

And neither of those options address the other problem, that having a full stop in the middle makes it feel like she’s making two separate, unconnected statements. That’s simply not the case, she’s making one complex statement.

Here’s how I’d like to punctuate it…

  • “You smell so good, it’s making me stupid.”

But that’s a comma splice. I’m not opposed to them entirely, I’m no slave to grammar. But when you’re relaying one line of dialogue and it’s grammatically incorrect…. That’s just not classy. It’s sloppy writing.

Technically, you could fix this with a semicolon….

  • “You smell so good; it’s making me stupid.”

In some ways this is the right thing to do. A semicolon is the official way to show two independent clauses have a close relationship to each other.

Here’s the problem: Semicolons are for wankers. Seriously. You can go your whole life without ever needing to really use a semicolon.

Unless you’re an academic, of course. If you’re an academic, you’ve got to use semicolon to impress other wankers with how much of a wanker you are so you can get your paper published. You know, that paper you wrote detailing your in-depth Marxist interpretation of the last eight lines of John Donne’s “The Flea?” The paper where you used the word “moreover” twenty-seven times in eleven pages?

Most importantly, a semicolon looks really strange in a piece of casual dialogue. People don’t speak using semicolons. Unless they’re wankers.

A lot of time, I’ll default to an ellipsis. Because I love ellipses.

  • “You smell so good… it’s making me stupid.”

But it implies too much of a pause in the middle of the statement.

What about an em dash?

  • “You smell so good— it’s making me stupid.”

Nope. Just looks weird.

And don’t even think about using an en dash, you little fuckers. That’s *not* what an en dash is for….

In the end, the only way to make this piece of dialogue “sound” right to the reader is through use of interstitials.

  • “You smell so good,” she said, looking at me with half-lidded eyes. “It’s making me stupid.”

That’s not quite right either. We need some foregrounding *and* an interstitial….

  • Sarah looked at me lustily. “You smell so good,” she said, her eyes half-closed. “It’s making me stupid.”

There. That’s just about right. That conveys her tone and mood in the appropriate way.

What’s my point?

Well, first off, let me say that I never promised there would be a point here. Sometimes I just idly muse about shit. Sometimes I just tell stories. Sometimes there’s no point.

But if there *is* a point it’s probably this: When you’re writing, there are no small choices. Or perhaps it would be better to say that writing is nothing *but* small choices. And all of them have the opportunity to effect your story in a disproportionately large way. Punctuation can change the tone of a sentence. The tone of a sentence can change the feel of a scene. And the feel of a scene can change your impression of a character’s personality.

A secondary point is that this is why my revision takes so long. When you think all these little things to death, you tend to fidget with a text a *lot.*

More cool stuff this week. Stay tuned.

pat

Also posted in Oot, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat142 Responses

Ira Glass on Art

Sick as a dog right now. A throwing up dog.

So rather than try and come up with any cleverness of my own, I’m going to bring in someone else’s.

pat

Also posted in videos | By Pat26 Responses

My Terrible Surprise – The Dreaded High School Novel

A couple days ago, Mary Robinette Kowal asked if I’d care to donate an act of whimsy to a fundraiser she was planning to Sequence Jay Lake’s Cancer.

I said I’d be happy to, and she put me in as their $17,500 goal, tucked between Scalzi and Gaiman like the ham in a coolness sandwich.

I had a couple ideas for what I could do, but wasn’t sure what would sound best, so I told Mary to put me down for “A terrible surprise.”

I figured I’d have at least a week or two before I had to come up with anything. Plenty of time for me to wrap up my own fundraiser, finish a story I have due, and do my amazingly good Kermit the Frog impression singing Rainbow Connection.

Or maybe I’d dig out my Dr Horrible lab coat and engage in a little mad science on my webcam…

Then Mary launched her fundraiser raised more than 20,000 in a single day.

Which was cool. Don’t get me wrong. But it meant I owed them something whimsical NOW.

Unfortunately, I have a bit of a cold right now, so singing is out. And all my glassware is boxed up in the basement. So I decided I’d post up a poem I wrote twenty years ago when I’d first started reading Terry Pratchett. It was called “A Wizard’s Staff has a Knob on the End.”

Despite the fact that I wrote it ages ago, and I can still remember the first few lines:

Oh wizard’s staffs are long and hard and known throughout the land.
A sight to heed, and fear indeed, is a wizard, staff in hand.
 

It’s everything you’d expect, a long, metrical double entendre. Fanfic I wrote before I knew what fanfic was….

Here’s the problem. I can’t find it. Not in my computer files, and not in the hoarder-esque boxes of old writing I keep squirreled away. Not anywhere.

But I did find something else. A piece of the novel I wrote in high-school.

While it isn’t terribly whimsical in and of itself, I’ll post it up here in a whimsical way, laying open my secret shame for everyone to see.

For you youngsters out there, this is what a dot matrix printout looks like. It’s the closest thing to a cuneiform tablet you’ll ever see.

I started this novel when I was 15-16. It’s the characters are D&D characters created by me and my friends.

This is the start of chapter 4. Don’t worry about being brought into the middle of things. So far the novel has consisted of two flashbacks and a dream sequence. The only action has been our three intrepid adventurers (A barbarian, a dwarf, and a Cat-Man samurai) have moved from one bar to another and  been given a quest by a monk named Dron.

Brace yourselves….

*     *     *

     Lambernath, the all seeing, stood wiping his clean oak bar with his clean, white, linen cloth. As his hand continued it’s unceasing movement it’s owner watched the four figures at the bar and silently gave thanks that there was more to be seeing lately.

     His eyes slowly passed over them all in turn, first the self proclaimed monk, Dron, who had sat waiting at his bar for nearly a week for a band of adventurers to respond to the leaflets that he had posted all over the town. Lambernath knew how anxious he was for help after the many long hours slowly sipping wine in the Cask. Lambernath had known when the trio of adventurers came in that the monk would do everything he could to sign them up.

     Still polishing, Lambernath looked over the dwarf sitting next to Dron. He seemed to be the stereotypical dwarf, his beard was more jet than silver and bristled out from his face and hung down to his waist. His commonplace chain mail hauberk hung to his knees and hooded his head, nothing surprising, as a matter of fact he had seldom seen an adventuring dwarf clad in anything else. His weapons though smaller than the battle axes that so many dwarves preferred were axes nonetheless. His ruddy complexion, fondness of ale, long pointed nose, the swagger and boisterous manner all perfectly dwarven. ‘If I saw him in a room full of mercenaries I wouldn’t notice him at all.’ All of these things viewed together make what a dwarf is expected to be, but it was too perfect and thus suspect.

     Lambernath shook his head as if to clear it, and chastised himself for thinking too much. “Just a dwarf,” he though, “they’ve never been much for originality anyway.”

     Following in dwarven tradition, instead of hammering out the details of the deal Deverax preceded to get hammered.

     Dismissing the dwarf from his mind, the magic user turned his attention to the two oddly matched friends that sat, huddled together. One was dressed in simple leathers, unremarkable except for their size. Occasionally they creaked as Kahn’s muscles bulged when he gestured to emphasize something he was saying. Lambernath strained to hear what they were talking about, but their speech was nonsense, unlike any of the half dozen languages he was fluent in, or another dozen that he could recognize.

     The other’s garb was foreign, and though the eyes of Lambernath the all seeing had beheld many things, they had never seen anything like what the black cloth mask and half cloak hid. His curiosity piqued, he brought to memory every reference to human/animal crossbreeding he could. But nothing matched up. The magic required to make a mating between two different species would be enormous. And the result would probably be much more animal than human. Lycanthropy seemed out too, the change from human to animal was quick and at both human and animal stages the lycanthrope was virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

     After a long moment of deep thought on the subject Lambernath gave it up as another one of the many things that he would probably never know.
The three seemed to be well prepared on the physical side of the adventure, But it was always a good plan to have a cleric or a mage along on an adventure. Or, if you could manage it, both. This group had neither, and aside from the obvious magical benefits that come with a wizardly companion, it was good to have someone along to do the heavy thinking. Fighters never were much good at that.

     “Admit it.” Lambernath said to himself, “You want to go with them, you’ve tried the life of an innkeeper and it bores you!” But another part of him wanted to stay where he was, where it was safe. This part had been stung by the dwarf’s remarks about mages. Meant to goad Dron, the bars had hit home with Lambernath instead. Finally he decided on a course of action, he would make his availability known and wait to see what happened. But they would have to ask him, his wounded pride demanded that much.

     Lambernath turned to the dwarf, obviously the leader of the group. His mind working out the perfect thing to say to him. Something that would suggest his availability without making it seem as if they couldn’t handle the adventure themselves (even though they couldn’t) , something that wouldn’t make it seem as if he really wanted to go (even though he did), and most importantly something to appear to the dwarf’s rough nature. In the second that this took, Lambernath turned to Deverax to find that the dwarf was staring intently at him. Cool and calculating, the dwarf’s icy blue eyes showed no hint of the ale that Lambernath had seen him consume.

     Lambernath started to wonder how long the dwarf had been watching him while he had been watching the dwarf’s friends. The carefully thought out words lay forgotten and unused, indeed useless under that gaze.

     They’ll do just fine without me, Lambernath though. He dropped his eyes to the hand that still polished the bar. He stopped the hand and turned his back on the bar. When he spoke his voice was oddly subdued.

     “More ale, anyone?”

*     *     *

Ahhh…. The terrible commas. The recurrent it’s ~ its mistakes. The obsessive internal monologue. The over-description. The cloying reek of cliche….

Best of all, you should know that Lambernath wasn’t a main character in the book. He wasn’t even a secondary character. He was just the innkeeper. The next day everyone left the inn and you never saw him again. He had no business being a POV character.

Simply said, it’s a train wreck.

Here’s the thing. Am I glad I wrote this book? Were the hundreds of hours I spent slaving away at it worthwhile?

Absolutely.

The whole purpose of your early writing is to make mistakes so you can get them out of your system. That’s what first novels are for.

You can see a few good ideas in there, desperately struggling to raise their heads out of the morass of mistake. I was trying to build mystery. (The cat man was actually a Kensai with a magical curse in his past.) I was trying (and failing) to figure out what a plot was.

And I was trying to show that while the dwarf *looked* cliche, there was something more to him that just a stereotype. It was my first fumbling attempt to twist a genre trope into something fresh and new. Not that I knew what the word “trope” meant back then….

And of course, you can see that Lambernath contains the seeds of a very, very early proto-Kvothe.

 (Photo Courtesy of Deviantart.)

If I hadn’t written that terrible book. If I hadn’t made the pointless decision to have the characters move from one bar to another. If I hadn’t foolishly switched POV to focus on a character that was utterly useless to the story, I might never have written Kvothe. Which pretty much means The Name of the Wind wouldn’t exist.

Anyway, I hope y’all have found this at least slightly amusing. Thanks so much for helping out Jay.

*     *     *

And if any of y’all are still feeling altruistic, you could always check out my fundraiser: Worldbuilders. We’re giving away thousands of books to encourage people to donate to charity.

You can click here if you’re interested in the details.

Also posted in Dr. Horrible, fanfic, Fuck Cancer, My checkered past, Stories about stories. | By Pat24 Responses

Professional Critiques for Aspiring Authors

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

At its heart, Worldbuilders is a charity for people that love books.

Given that so many of Worldbuilder’s supporters are readers, it’s not terribly surprising that a lot of them are aspiring writers as well.

Every year we run a few auctions where authors and editors offer to give folks critical feedback on their unpublished manuscripts. Generally speaking, every year, they’re some of our most successful auctions.

Since people seem to like them so much, this year we’re delighted to offer more critiques than ever before. We have an even dozen read-and-critiques being offered by skilled industry professionals: authors, agents, and editors.

First, I really want to thank everyone who is donating their time and talent to these auctions. You are all shining examples of humanity.

Second, I’d advise you to read the details of each auction carefully. Each of the critiques below is different, some are for the first 15,000 words of a manuscript, others are for anything up to 100,000 words. The different professionals have different skill sets and are offering different things.

Third, some of the folks below have laid out some guidelines in terms of when and how quickly they can offer their critiques. I’m going to add a general caveat on top of that, asking that you respect the fact that all the professionals below are busy people. That means if you win a critique with them, you’re going to have to work with them to schedule a time that works for both of you.

So, please be understanding. Besides, you rush a miracle man, you get lousy miracles.

If you win my critique, for example, it can’t happen until mid-February at the very earliest. I’m busy with revisions, and I simply won’t have time before that.

Fourth, when the auctions below mention that they’ll read “X pages” of a manuscript, assume they’re talking standard manuscript format. That means, generally speaking, double-spaced, 12 point courier font, one inch margins.

Finally, if you’re an aspiring author, but you don’t have the cash to win one of these auctions, don’t despair. I’m going to be throwing a *second* read-and-critique of my own into the lottery. That means if you donate at least $10 to Heifer International over on the Worldbuilders Team Page, you have a chance to win my critique, as well as over a thousand cool books and other goodies…. (more details below)

Also, need I mention that a professional critique would be an excellent gift for that hard-to-shop-for aspiring author in your life? It would. It seriously would.

Okay, on to the show:

  • A critique of the first 20,000 words of your manuscript by literary Agent Matt Bialer.

Matt Bialer (literary agent) will read and evaluate the opening chapters of one manuscript (up to 20,000 words) within three months of submission, not including the last few weeks of December. He will read and critique, and help the author think about the issues that could be raised by editors at publishing houses.

He will write a general evaluation of the book, both strengths and weaknesses, but line editing is NOT included. If the book is fantastic or has the potential to be fantastic then offering representation is not out of the question — but representation is not a guarantee.

Pat’s Note: Matt is my agent, and I really can’t say enough good things about him. He worked with my The Name of the Wind before we sold it to a publisher, and his advice was invaluable. He knows the genre inside and out, and he gives great editorial feedback.

To bid on Matt’s read and critique, head over to the auction.

  • A critique of a sci-fi/fantasy short story up to 30,000 words by award-winning author Brenda Cooper.

Award-winning Pacific Northwest writer Brenda Cooper will read and critique a science fiction or fantasy short story up to 30,000 words.   Her novel-length work is primarily science fiction written for nine to ninety year old readers, and her short stories range across genres and age-groups.

Brenda Cooper writes science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. Her most recent novel is THE CREATIVE FIRE, which came out in November, 2012 from Pyr. Brenda is also a technology professional and a futurist.

In addition to the critique, Brenda will provide a copy of her latest novel, The Creative Fire.

To bid on Brenda’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

  • A critique of the first 100 pages or 3 chapters of your novel by author Scott Lynch.
Scott will review one piece of writing, preferably a section of a novel-length work, up to 100 pages or three chapters. This work should be double-spaced in a common electronic format such as Word or TXT/RTF. Scott will provide a detailed overall response to the piece and cover specific topics such as plot, character, dialogue, theme, and other aspects of narrative craft. Line and copy editing will be strictly at his option. This critique cannot begin before January, 2013 and will probably require six weeks from receipt of manuscript.

 

To bid on Scott’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

 

  • A critique of the first 100 pages of your novel by author Joshua Palmatier (aka Benjamin Tate).

Joshua Palmatier (DAW Books author of the “Throne of Amenkor” trilogy and the “Well of Sorrows” trilogy written as Benjamin Tate) will read and evaluate the first 100 pages of your novel within 3 months of submission.  The manuscript must be in standard manuscript format (typed, double-spaced, 12 pt font, etc).  He will write a general evaluation of the novel’s opening and mark up the manuscript using comments and track changes in the document itself, although this will NOT be a formal line or copy edit, simply commentary at specific points of the manuscript.

Joshua Palmatier has five dark, epic fantasy novels published by DAW, four short stories in various anthologies, and has co-edited two anthologies with Patricia Bray.  His experience is mostly with all forms of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.  His intent will be to offer editorial advice on how to improve your novel and to use his experience as both author and editor to make it the best it can be.

In addition to the manuscript review, Joshua will provide the winner with two signed, personalized editions of his books:  WELL OF SORROWS and AFTER HOURS:  TALES FROM THE UR-BAR.

To bid on Joshua’s critique, head to the auction over here.

(This is Patricia, not Joshua, obviously.)

Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray (co-editors of the DAW Books anthologies AFTER HOURS:  TALES FROM THE UR-BAR and THE MODERN FAE’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HUMANITY) will each read and evaluate your short story (up to 7500 words in standard manuscript format) within six weeks of submission.  Each author will write a general evaluation of the story and mark up the manuscript using comments and track changes in the document itself, although this will NOT be a formal line or copy edit, simply commentary at specific points in the short story.  Patricia Bray is the author of six fantasy novels from Bantam Spectra and has published numerous novellas and short stories in various anthologies.

Joshua Palmatier has five dark, epic fantasy novels published by DAW and four short stories in various anthologies.  Their experience is mostly with all forms of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.  Their intent will be to offer editorial advice on how to improve your story and to use their experience as both authors and editors to make it the best it can be.

In addition to the manuscript review, they will provide the winner with two signed, personalized editions of the books:  THE FIRST BETRAYAL by Patricia Bray, WELL OF SORROWS by Benjamin Tate (pseudonym of Joshua Palmatier), and AFTER HOURS:  TALES FROM THE UR-BAR.

To bid on Joshua and Patricia’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

Bradley P. Beaulieu is pleased to offer one story or chapter critique of up to 7,500 words. Brad will draft a formal review that will cover such things as how well the story opens, complicates, and closes, how well the characterization works, dialogue, tone, pacing, tension, and a host of other issues. Essentially, he’ll provide a formal review on the positives and negatives found in the story.

Bradley P. Beaulieu is the author of The Winds of Khalakovo and The Straits of Galahesh, the first two books in The Lays of Anuskaya trilogy. The concluding book in the trilogy, The Flames of Shadam Khoreh, will be released April of 2013. In addition to being an L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award winner, Brad’s stories have appeared in various other publications, including Realms of Fantasy Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Writers of the Future 20, and several anthologies from DAW Books. His story, “In the Eyes of the Empress’s Cat,” was voted a Notable Story of 2006 in the Million Writers Award.Mailing details and contact with Bradley will be set up following the auction.

To bid on Brad’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

Laura Anne Gilman, the former executive editor for Penguin/NAL/Roc Books, and author of over twenty novels, will read and evaluate your submission packet (cover letter, synopsis, and first three chapters up to 15,000 words).  She will read and critique, with an eye toward catching – and keeping- an editor or agent’s attention, and help you create hooks that will encourage the reader to ask for “more, please!”  She cannot promise to provide any introductions to agents or editors…but she won’t rule it out, either, if you knock her socks off.

Laura Anne Gilman spent fifteen years on the editorial side of the desk, including 6 years running the Roc SF imprint, before becoming a full-time writer in 2003.  She also runs d.y.m.k. productions, an editorial services company.

Pat’s Note: This is something really cool folks. I would have given a kidney for something like this during the two years I spent trying (and failin) to get an agent to look at The Name Of the Wind.

To bid on Laura’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

D. B. Jackson, who also writes as David B. Coe, is the award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and the occasional short story.  His most recent novel, THIEFTAKER, written under the D.B. Jackson pen name, is the first volume of the Thieftaker Chronicles, a series set in pre-Revolutionary Boston that combines elements of urban fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction.  The second volume, THIEVES’ QUARRY, is currently in production and will be published in 2013.

Writing as David B. Coe, he has published the LonTobyn Chronicle, a trilogy that received the Crawford Fantasy Award as the best work by a new author in fantasy, as well as the critically acclaimed Winds of the Forelands quintet and Blood of the Southlands trilogy. He has also written the novelization of director Ridley Scott’s movie, Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe.  David’s books have been translated into a dozen languages.D.B./David co-founded and regularly contributes to the Magical Words group blog (http://magicalwords.net), a site devoted to discussions of the craft and business of writing fantasy, and is co-author of How To Write Magical Words:  A Writer’s Companion.

To bid on Brad’s critique of up to 25,000 words of your manuscript, head to the auction over here.

  • A critique of the first 100 pages of your manuscript by editor David Pomerico.

David Pomerico is an Acquisition Editor at 47North, where he works in all the wonderful sub-genres that make up science fiction, fantasy, and horror.  Still, his passions definitely lie in the realms of traditional fantasy, space opera, military sci-fi, and dystopian novels. Before joining 47North, he was an Associate Editor at Del Rey Spectra.  Some of the great authors he’s been lucky enough to work with include Ari Marmell, Peter F. Hamilton, Sarah Zettel, Chris Wooding, Felix Gilman, Jeff Grubb (and many more that he’d love to list), and future projects by Dana Cameron, Jason Sheehan, Mark Barnes, Jeff Wheeler, SD Perry, and Aaron Pogue (again, among many, many others!).

He’s offering a detailed critique and commentary (but not a line edit) for the first 100 pages or so of your manuscript (double-spaced, please—and no margin shenanigans!), which he will get back to you within three months of receiving the manuscript. While he could possibly be blown away and want to make an offer on your book, this isn’t guaranteed (otherwise this might be a really pricey auction!).

To bid on David’s read and critique, head over to the auction over here.

  • A critique of a novel up to 100,000 words by author and editor John Helfers.

John Helfers is an author and editor currently living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During his sixteen years working at Tekno Books (the largest commercial book packager in the nation), he co-edited more than twenty short story anthologies, as well as overseeing many others for publishers in all genres. He has worked with many well-known authors and co-editors, including Lawrence Block, Larry Bond, Elizabeth George, Dale Brown, Stephen Coonts, Nelson DeMille, Charlaine Harris, John Jakes, Anne Perry, Jeffery Deaver, Michael Connelly, Walter J. Boyne, Harold W. Coyle, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis, Kevin J. Anderson, Ice-T, Richard Belzer, and Max Allan Collins.

He has also edited more than forty novels by such authors as Doug Allyn, Brendan DuBois, James Patrick Hunt, and Jean Rabe.  He has also published more than forty short stories in anthologies such as If I Were An Evil Overlord, Time Twisters, and Places to Be, People to Kill. His fiction has appeared in anthologies, game books, and novels for the Dragonlance®, Transformers®, BattleTech® and Shadowrun® universes. He has written both fiction and nonfiction, including the third novel in the first authorized trilogy based on The Twilight Zone™ television series, the YA novel Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers: Cloak and Dagger, and a history of the United States Navy.

Again, this is for a complete edit of a novel (up to 100,000 words, including line-edit and editorial comments.) This will be done within six months of receipt of the manuscript after the auction is completed.  The manuscript must be supplied in electronic format (MS Word preferred).

 

Pat’s Note: You see that thing up there that I made red? That’s big. Nobody else here is offering you line edits.

 

To bid on David’s read and critique, head over to the auction over here.

 

  • A critique of the first 75 pages of your novel by author Jamie Lee Moyer.

Jaime Lee Moyer is offering a read and critique of the first 75 pages of your finished novel. While she won’t line edit for grammar, she will comment on plot, pacing, character arc, voice, how well the “hook” or opening works, how well the story sustains her interest, and give overall, general impressions of the story. Critique will be done in MSWord via track changes, but please use a readable font and double-space your work. The critique will be returned to you within three months, edit letters and deadlines allowing.

Jaime Lee Moyer is a speculative fiction writer, poet and recovering editor. Jaime is the author of Delia’s Shadow, the first in a three book series coming from TOR beginning in September 2013. Delia’s Shadow won the 2009 Columbus Literary Award for Fiction, administered by Thurber House and funded by the Columbus Art Council. She doesn’t take herself nearly as seriously as that credit implies. Jaime’s short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Lone Star Stories, and two of the well-respected Triangulations anthologies. She was the editor of the 2010 Rhysling Anthology for the Science Fiction Poetry Association, a poetry and short fiction editor for a semi-pro zine for five years. For a short period of time she read slush for a literary agent, and has critiqued more novels and short stories than she wants to count.

To bid on Jamie’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

Patrick Rothfuss (international bestselling author, lover of women, and hirsute iconoclast) will read your manuscript and give you critical feedback. (Up to, say, 250,000 words.) We’ll schedule this based on when your manuscript will be ready and my own schedular constraints.

I’ll read through your manuscript, scrawling notes and dirty words in the margins, then I’ll call you on the phone and we can discuss it. I won’t write you up a detailed critique because that’s not how I roll. But we’ll probably chat on the phone for a couple of hours discussing the various strengths and weaknesses of the book, your writing craft, and I’ll offer any suggestions I might have.

If I think your book is super-awesome, I might be willing to pass it along to someone. But be very aware that what you’re buying here is a critique, not a blurb or an introduction to the publishing world. A critique.

Mailing details and contact with Patrick will be set up following the auction.

To bid on Pat’s critique, head to the auction over here.

  • Lottery Item: A critique of your entire manuscript by Pat Rothfuss.

(That’s right, ladies. All of this, and brains too…)

Here’s the deal. I’m well aware of the fact that a lot of authors are starving-artist types. I spent more than a decade below the poverty line working on my books before I was published.

I know those people can’t afford to blow a bunch of money on an auction for a critique, and I feel bad about that.

So this year, I’m throwing a critique into the lottery.

Here’s how it’s going to work. For every $10 you donate to Heifer International over on the Worldbuilders Team Page, you have a chance to win my critique, as well as over a thousand cool books and other goodies we have listed on our main page.

Unlike the books though, who go to pretty much anyone that wins. This prize will be selective. I’m going to call whoever wins it, and if they’re not an aspiring author who wants help with a manuscript, we’ll draw another name. We’ll do this again and again until it ends up in the hands of someone that can use it.

So if the auctions are out of your reach, pitch in on our team page. The more you donate, the more you’re likely to win.

*     *     *

If you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can find them over here.

If you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main page here.

 

Also posted in Revision, the business of writing, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat29 Responses

Episode 4: The Play’s the Thing

Here’s this month’s episode of StoryBoard, for those of you who haven’t caught it yet. Episode 4: The Play’s the Thing.

This month we broke with tradition in several ways. We pre-recorded the show in order to avoid election night bandwidth issues, and we invited four guests instead of the regular three.

Both experiments were a qualified success. Shooting the show earlier in the day allowed us to bring in parents and east-coasters Peter V. Brett, Myke ColeSaladin Ahmed, and Naomi Novick. We also managed to avoid running into election coverage by scheduling a week before the election.

The downside is that there was a *tiny* little hurricane going on during our hangout. I don’t think that helped our connectivity very much. We lost a few of our guests for a couple minutes here and there, but since all the authors involved were experienced speakers and tabletop RPGers, none of them were thrown too far off their game.

Did I mention that this month our focus was storytelling in roleplaying?

Here it is….

Share and Enjoy…

Also posted in gaming, Geek and Sundry, geeking out, The Story Board, video games, videos | By Pat14 Responses
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